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Playing Dragon Quest XI for the first time. Liking it a lot, but it has the worst RPG soundtrack I've ever heard

DragoonKain

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This is the first Dragon Quest game I've played in years. I think since VII for PS1 and I never beat that game, I stopped like 50 hours in.

Part of the reason I'm playing it is because this board recommended it as the best current "classic style JRPG" and so far it hasn't disappointed in that regard. It definitely feels like a classic JRPG. I've loving most things about it.

A couple things I dislike:

1. And I know this is just the Dragon Quest style of games, but it's a little less "mature" than I typically like in JRPGs. Maybe mature is the wrong word. Not sure how to describe what I'm talking about really. Like, I'm not expecting any themes where people have been kidnapped and experimented on or towns slaughtered by a mad man with trails of blood like happened in some FF games even. I've never felt like there's a ton at stake. But I get it, that's Dragon Quest.

2. Every character looks like they're out of Dragon Ball Z. Not a huge deal, but whatever.

3. This is the only thing I genuinely actively loathe about the game: the music. It's fucking terrible. Worst soundtrack I've ever heard in a game. I have to turn the volume all the way down when I'm out in the fields or towns and listen to other music or podcasts to keep me sane. Not only are the melodies bad, but they're short, so it makes the fact that they repeat over and over more quickly even worse. Just the worst towns and field themes I've ever heard in an RPG.

Other than that I'm really enjoying it. I can't wait until I start experimenting with no weapon paths to see how much it changes my style of play I'm currently doing right now. I like how the towns are all big and well designed and don't feel cut and pasted like some JRPGs I've played in recent years. The story is interesting enough.

Maybe I'll update this thread with some thoughts along the way to my completion.
 

killatopak

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1. The stories are great imo. There are still twist and turns but DQ traditionally has been a simple light vs darkness or good vs evil with clear cut enemies.

2. The character designer since the start has always been Akira Toriyama who made the Dragonball series.

3. If you’re playing the definitive edition, I suggest going to the setting and changing it to orchestral and replacing the XI overworld theme with the VIII one.
 
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houyi

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for me it is one of the worst game soundtracks. mind-blowing dull and monotone. Still enjoy the game.
 
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SCB3

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And I know this is just the Dragon Quest style of games, but it's a little less "mature" than I typically like in JRPGs. Maybe mature is the wrong word. Not sure how to describe what I'm talking about really. Like, I'm not expecting any themes where people have been kidnapped and experimented on or towns slaughtered by a mad man with trails of blood like happened in some FF games even. I've never felt like there's a ton at stake. But I get it, that's Dragon Quest.
I have the same issue, it feels too "kiddy" I guess is the right term, the main theme actually makes me cringe, its bad and I've played through all the FF games
 
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ULTROS!

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Dragon Quest mainly relies on nostalgia. So majority of the music played are the songs we’ve heard before. Iconic but I guess you can say repetitive. I mean the slew of trailers that showcased a few months back had the same Dragon Quest Opening music.
 

SpokkX

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Yep music sucks - worst of all it cobtains very few tracks that are repeteated throughout the game

that is BAD in a jrpg
 

sublimit

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The story is typical Dragon Quest which depending on whether you like the series or not it's a good thing or a bad thing.

I never liked DBZ but i love the characters of DQXI so i don't agree they are similar.Again they are typical DQ characters.

I never understood the complaints about the soundtrack even though i played the PS4 version. Yes i'd have prefered it if it included the orchestrated version but all in all the sound quality wasn't a big deal for me. As for the compositions themselves they are definitely not on the same caliber as those in DQVIII (which Sugiyama's carreer peak) but all the old compositions (including some incredible themes from DQVIII) were great to listen again. The new ones were nothing special but they still felt like DQ and they never took me out of the experience.
 
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april6e

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This topic is confusing me. Even if you don't prefer the game's music, I don't know how you could have the opinion that the game's music is subpar. The music is significantly better than your average game. The only thing I could think of is that you are playing the original game with the trash "midi" tracks and not the vastly superior Dragon Quest 11-S with the actual orchestral music.
 
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Moonjt9

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Just started playing this on switch recently and the music complaint is interesting. I actually remarked to myself how much I was enjoying the music! I guess it must be the orchestral version that sounds better.
 

Yumi

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Yep, 50 hours in and theres maybe been 8 “songs” total. They all feel like 1 minutes loops. Every town having the same music. The towns and areas are great, it’s a shame there wasn’t a fitting song to accompany them ala Xenoblade Chronicles, Tales of Vesperia or most RPGs.

it’s definitely the weakest part for me too. I’m really enjoying it too otherwise.
 
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DGrayson

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Remember your friend told you about that awesome podcast you needed to check out. Now is the time.
 
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LazyParrot

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Dragon Quest mainly relies on nostalgia. So majority of the music played are the songs we’ve heard before. Iconic but I guess you can say repetitive. I mean the slew of trailers that showcased a few months back had the same Dragon Quest Opening music.
People in the West don't really get this for the most part, since Dragon Quest has always played second fiddle to Final Fantasy here. In Japan, on the other hand, Dragon Quest is bigger than Final Fantasy ever was in the West. Most Japanese people under 45 have probably played it growing up, and it's part of a very exclusive group of games that are considered acceptable for "normal" adults to express an interest in without it being considered weird or nerdy in some way.

As such, the entire franchise essentially runs on nostalgia. The samey music, the 8-bit menu sounds in a PS4 game, the lack of voiceovers, all of that stuff. They're not doing this because they're lazy or hurting for money, they're doing it because Japanese gamers expect it.
 

Saber

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Your reasons for disliking are very shallow and lamish. In terms of design, DQ was aways like that. The design is from Akira Toyama, so I'm scratching my head over this "everyone is like DBZ"(sorry this reason sounds very stupid). Also, seriousness in DQ? Where we have monsters like Slime which is basically a goofy charming and funny looking monster?


I can totally agree with the music side though, the lack of orchestra in the first one sucks bad. Thats why the new versions have better musics, although some didn't actually made any better because of the instruments used.
 

Fbh

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The main issue with the music is the shocking lack of variety more than the compositions themselves (except maybe for the overworld theme which sucks, and you can thankfully replace with the DQVIII one).

There's like 2 city/town songs used for every city/town, 1 dungeon music, 1 overworld music that plays in almost every outdoor location, etc. It's a game that can easily take you over 80 hours and you spend the overwhelming majority of that time listening to the same 3-4 songs on repeat.

I played YS8 soon after and despite being lower budget it was really nice actually having unique music for every unique location. Meanwhile in DQXI no matter if you are in the dessert, some magical forest, a frozen valley or a jungle..you get the same song, over and over and over again.
 
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Kumomeme

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i tried before with orchestrial soundtrack. but it still suck. people said it made tremendous differences. but apparently not.
 

ethomaz

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I actually loves the soundtrack... most are already iconic to DQ but the news ones are pretty good too.

I'm with 190 hours of gameplay... trying to get that Platinum.

Hummm... Akira Toyama character design is like that... he won't change it just because you dislike it... it is his trace so everything he design will be like that... we can say Dragon Ball characters have the same design as Dr. Slump.
 
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ethomaz

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The story is typical Dragon Quest which depending on whether you like the series or not it's a good thing or a bad thing.

I never liked DBZ but i love the characters of DQXI so i don't agree they are similar.Again they are typical DQ characters.

I never understood the complaints about the soundtrack even though i played the PS4 version. Yes i'd have prefered it if it included the orchestrated version but all in all the sound quality wasn't a big deal for me. As for the compositions themselves they are definitely not on the same caliber as those in DQVIII (which Sugiyama's carreer peak) but all the old compositions (including some incredible themes from DQVIII) were great to listen again. The new ones were nothing special but they still felt like DQ and they never took me out of the experience.
I listened both and I prefer the actual game version to the orchestrated ones.
I'm possibility in the minority but I loved the overworld music.
 

ethomaz

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The main issue with the music is the shocking lack of variety more than the compositions themselves (except maybe for the overworld theme which sucks, and you can thankfully replace with the DQVIII one).

There's like 2 city/town songs used for every city/town, 1 dungeon music, 1 overworld music that plays in almost every outdoor location, etc. It's a game that can easily take you over 80 hours and you spend the overwhelming majority of that time listening to the same 3-4 songs on repeat.

I played YS8 soon after and despite being lower budget it was really nice actually having unique music for every unique location. Meanwhile in DQXI no matter if you are in the dessert, some magical forest, a frozen valley or a jungle..you get the same song, over and over and over again.
Each City has it own unique song.
Each Dungeon has it own song.
Each Act has a new Overworld song.

The game has actually over 40 different songs.

BTW I found a list with all old DQ songs in the game (it is missing the new ones made just for DQXI).

Code:
People (DQ1) [name input screen]
Mysterious Disappearance (DQ5) [prologue]
Pastoral ~ Catastrophe (DQ2) [prologue]
Saint (DQ5)
Distant Memories (DQ3) [flashbacks]
Jipang (DQ3) [Hotto]
Prologue (DQ3)
Castle Trumpeter (DQ5) [académie]
Chatting (DQ8) [Phnom Nohn]
Sanctuary (DQ8) [Arboria]
Brave Fight (DQ6) [JP is 敢然と立ち向かう | Not sure if this track is actually in]
Grueling Fight (DQ3) [last boss from trial isle]
Make me feel sad (DQ5)
To Mudo's Castle (DQ6) *
Adventure (DQ3) [post game field music]
Heavenly Flight (DQ3) [post game whale]
Fighting Spirits / Challenge of the Hero (DQ3) [Calasmos fight]
Days of Sadness With Sadness in Heart (DQ7)
Goofy monster (DQ5DS)
Battle for the Glory (DQ4) [tournament]
Coliseum Backstage (DQ4)
Coliseum Stand (DQ4)
Folk Dance (DQ6)
Saint's Wreath (DQ6)
Requiem (DQ3) [party wipe]
Noble Requiem (DQ5)
Slime Ganbaru (Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest: Shōgeki no Shippo Dan) [slime slot machines]
Battle Music (III)
Himeko's Palace (III) (night version of Jipang)
Small Shrine (III)
Loto's Theme (III) the classic version of the overture
Sea Breeze (IV)
Frightening Dungeons (IV) Switch Only
Disturbed Village (V)
Castle Trumpeter ~Night~ (V)
Melody of Love (V) Switch Only
Bridal Waltz (V)
With Sadness in Heart (VII) (the above has Days of Sadness listed instead but I don't think that's actually played in the game)
Paradise (VII)
Stalked by Fear (VIII)
Healing Power of the Psalms (VIII)
Strange World (VIII) Switch DLC
Marching through the Fields (VIII) Switch Only
Ton-ten-kan (X)
 
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clem84

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I think overall it's a strong soundtrack. There are 4-5 tracks in this game that I think are phenomenal. One example is the Nautica theme. It's truly great IMO. Another is the camp fire song. The bulk of the tracks fall in the category of decent to pretty good, and at the other end of the spectrum you have a bunch of tracks that are just forgettable.

It's missing a little variety. It's not a huge soundtrack. It isn't very long and you do hear the same tracks come back regularly in the game, which bugs me a little.

Overall it's definitely not at the same level as other installments of the series, but I would still consider it pretty good and I'm happy with it. I don't know how long Sugiyama will be around but I hope that if he's in charge of the next game's OST, that he'll fix some of those things.

 
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Hugare

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Some people will eat shit and like it.

Doesnt mean that shit is not shit.

So with that said, the soundtrack is fucking terrible. Even Square knows, but they cant do much about it. Because the composer has a contract that says that he will compose music for the franchise until he dies, so yeah.

It being recorded as MIDI for the original release is just the cherry on the fucking top

They putting in DQ 8's song for the open world says it all. "I know, its shit, so put this other song if you cant really stand it anymore".

The game is great, tho. But yeah, the music sucks.
 
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Fbh

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Each City has it own unique song.
Each Dungeon has it own song.
Each Act has a new Overworld song.

The game has actually over 40 different songs.

BTW I found a list with all old DQ songs in the game (it is missing the new ones made just for DQXI).

Code:
People (DQ1) [name input screen]
Mysterious Disappearance (DQ5) [prologue]
Pastoral ~ Catastrophe (DQ2) [prologue]
Saint (DQ5)
Distant Memories (DQ3) [flashbacks]
Jipang (DQ3) [Hotto]
Prologue (DQ3)
Castle Trumpeter (DQ5) [académie]
Chatting (DQ8) [Phnom Nohn]
Sanctuary (DQ8) [Arboria]
Brave Fight (DQ6) [JP is 敢然と立ち向かう | Not sure if this track is actually in]
Grueling Fight (DQ3) [last boss from trial isle]
Make me feel sad (DQ5)
To Mudo's Castle (DQ6) *
Adventure (DQ3) [post game field music]
Heavenly Flight (DQ3) [post game whale]
Fighting Spirits / Challenge of the Hero (DQ3) [Calasmos fight]
Days of Sadness With Sadness in Heart (DQ7)
Goofy monster (DQ5DS)
Battle for the Glory (DQ4) [tournament]
Coliseum Backstage (DQ4)
Coliseum Stand (DQ4)
Folk Dance (DQ6)
Saint's Wreath (DQ6)
Requiem (DQ3) [party wipe]
Noble Requiem (DQ5)
Slime Ganbaru (Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest: Shōgeki no Shippo Dan) [slime slot machines]
Battle Music (III)
Himeko's Palace (III) (night version of Jipang)
Small Shrine (III)
Loto's Theme (III) the classic version of the overture
Sea Breeze (IV)
Frightening Dungeons (IV) Switch Only
Disturbed Village (V)
Castle Trumpeter ~Night~ (V)
Melody of Love (V) Switch Only
Bridal Waltz (V)
With Sadness in Heart (VII) (the above has Days of Sadness listed instead but I don't think that's actually played in the game)
Paradise (VII)
Stalked by Fear (VIII)
Healing Power of the Psalms (VIII)
Strange World (VIII) Switch DLC
Marching through the Fields (VIII) Switch Only
Ton-ten-kan (X)

It can have 1000 songs for all I care. It still plays the same couple of ones the vast majority of time:

This one, for example:

Plays in Heliodor, Gallopolis, Gondolia, Octagonia, Puerto Valor and Sniflheim (though at times another one might play for a while for story reasons)
 
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Xeaker

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I had to play the game with the music muted. It was so bad. First time I ever had to do that.
 
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stn

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First DQ I ever completed, I really liked it. I agree with your criticisms but I still think its an awesome RPG.
 
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SkylineRKR

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S looks a bit worse but is the best version by far. It has an OST that at least sounds like some present day stuff.
 

Captain Toad

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I do get tired that Dragon Quest uses the same music in every game, in every town and every battle, etc. This even holds for spin-offs like Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Builders.

All those tracks should make an appearance in every DQ game, but they should be less prevalent.
 
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lol its one of the few rpg's where I've actually muted the game, put my ear b uds in, and just read everything while playing lol
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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No joke, the overworld theme with those blaring MIDI horns is the worst shit I’ve ever heard in a JRPG. What a disgrace.
 
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Metnut

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Amazed at how anyone at Square thought that horrific soundtrack was worthy of release. How can a game that long have so few tracks with so many of them being boring or even annoyingly awful.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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BTW just imagine the shitshow if EA or Ubisoft tried something like this:

- released a game with a shitty MIDI soundtrack. Fully orchestrated versions were also made, but not included in the game, just sold as a separate soundtrack album.

- later released a “definitive” version for Switch that has downgraded graphics but has the orchestrated soundtrack + new content and QoL features

- later, port the Definitive edition to other systems complete with the downgraded graphics, and sell it as a completely separate $40 game that’s incompatible with the original

Eat shit, Square-Enix.
 

Mr.ODST

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Still deciding what to play this on, PS5, Series X or Switch, dunno how I ended up with all 3 (GP for Xbox)
 

Dr. Suchong

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In my experience of Dragon quest games, the music ranges from absurdly pompous to unbearably twee.
But yes, totally agree about 11, the music is unfortunately the weakest aspect.
My favourite part about DQ and most Jrpgs is grinding like a mother fucker with headphones on with my favourite music on.
Usually something blood pumping to spur me on. Metal, etc.
 

Tg89

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The soundtrack overall isn't that bad the problem for me is that the battle theme is fucking garbage and you have to listen to that shit on repeat for a good part of the game.
 

Ceadeus

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Yeah the music gets stale a bit but there's much worst. The story is what it is. The more mature content is found when talking to the town folks, it often treats mature subject.

Akira Toriyama has been the character designer for DQ forever, so yeah. It's Dragon Ball from head to tippy toe.

The only thing I kind of dislike is some of the party members. The little cursed twin girl and the effiminate circus guy.

bi gay GIF by LGBTQ Youth
 

YeulEmeralda

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The soundtrack would have been fine if it was still 1994. Dragon Quest is an old relic stuck in time and the fans want it that way.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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The soundtrack would have been fine if it was still 1994. Dragon Quest is an old relic stuck in time and the fans want it that way.
No not really. MIDI is only part of the problem. The other problem is that the songs just aren’t very good.

If anything we’d be judging it even more harshly in 1994, because then we’d be comparing it with games like Secret of Mana, FF 4 & 6, etc instead of saying “b-but it’s supposed to be old school!”
 

rahuljx

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The main overworld theme is just so bombastic. Its not just the midi vs orchestral debate, the overall composition just doesnt fit the world environment or setting. The other songs are decent but when you hear what feels like 4 tracks for a 100 hour game its painful. It really ruined my enjoyment of the game.
 

Quezacolt

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I agree. It's not that the songs themselves are bad, they just become super annoying very soon, and this is an issue i never had with any other jrpg. I would rather have a bland ost that you barely even aknowledge it's existence at all, than one that just makes you want to turn the volume down because you cant stand it anymore.
 

YeulEmeralda

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No not really. MIDI is only part of the problem. The other problem is that the songs just aren’t very good.

If anything we’d be judging it even more harshly in 1994, because then we’d be comparing it with games like Secret of Mana, FF 4 & 6, etc instead of saying “b-but it’s supposed to be old school!”
Yes I admit I was wrong. The OST of the other DQ games are at least decent and sometimes great.

Something went wrong with DQ11. It feels phoned in. No passion. Disjointed.
 
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Rat Rage

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Unless they change the entrire soundtrack, I will never play a Dragon Quest game.